One of the most distressing situations for any husband is finding out that his wife has been having an affair. Even worse is the discovery that the spouse has been spending income or assets that could have been used for family expenses or set aside as savings for the partner. And if financial resources are limited, spending on a partner is even more pressing. What can you do when you discover that your partner has been using marital assets or that the spouse has been spending income or assets on the partner, such as gifts, lavish vacations, or even the partner’s living expenses? Read on for strategies for dealing with this common and devastating problem.
If you don’t file for a divorce, there’s (probably) nothing you can do
If the spouse’s relationship partner spends the marital income or assets, the key question is whether you wish to remain married. If you remain married, there is very little in your ‘toolkit’ that you can use to recover money unless the arrival of the partner in question was fraudulent, in which case you would need your spouse to attempt a refund from the partner directly.
If you decide to forgive the infidelity and remain in the marriage, it can be said that you are acquiescing to the spending. Depending on how far this relationship occurred in the past, if you later decide to file for divorce, it may be difficult to argue that you should receive a disproportionate share of marital assets to compensate you for your spouse’s spending on her partner. Your spouse will argue that you knew about the spending but decided not to file for divorce, and your chance of stopping the spending or counting the spending may be affected in the division of marital assets, where the judge may decide that the spending was too far in the past to be relevant.
Think of a postnuptial agreement
An alternative to filing a divorce complaint is entering into a postnuptial agreement. However, it may be difficult to fully address the husband’s dissipation of his partner through a postnuptial agreement. You could consider setting the total spending on the relationship partner (if your spouse is willing to provide you with this information voluntarily) and agreeing that if you do end up getting divorced, you will receive this amount “from above” before the rest of your marital assets are divided between you and your spouse. However, a postnuptial agreement may only be effective in dealing with it past Expenses on the relationship partner. In other words, if the husband does not end the relationship, it will not be possible to deal with the postnuptial agreement effectively continuous Expenses by your spouse on the relationship partner.
Another difficulty with the postnuptial agreement approach is that you have no rights of discovery without filing a complaint for divorce. This means that you do not have the right to request documents from your spouse (such as documents confirming how much you have spent on a partner) or to request records from third parties such as banks. You are then stuck with any documents your spouse is willing to provide you voluntarily, and these may not be an accurate reflection of the total amount of assets or income your spouse has spent on his partner.
Given the difficulties in using a postnuptial agreement to reimburse you for the assets your spouse spent on his partner for these reasons, unfortunately, your first step will likely be to file for divorce.
Once you file a divorce complaint, you have the right to make discovery. In Massachusetts, the first step in the discovery process is usually the exchange of certain documents that all divorcing parties must exchange in accordance with the Supplemental Will Rule and Family Court Rule 410 (“Rule 410”). These documents include three years’ worth of tax returns, three years’ bank statements, retirement and investment accounts, each party’s four most recent payslips, and a few other documents. The documents must be submitted within 45 days from the date of filing the divorce complaint.
If you are concerned that the spending may be continuing, it may make more sense to file a formal request to produce documents for your spouse rather than wait 45 days for Rule 410 documents. A document production request is a formal legal document that requests specific documents from the other party. Your spouse has 30 days to issue the documents. In addition to bank and credit card statements, consider asking for communications between your spouse and her partner, notes and calendars, passports, travel information, airline tickets, and communications with hotels, airlines, and travel agents.
Alternatively, you can decide to send subpoenas to your spouse’s financial institutions, such as banks and credit card companies. The advantage of sending a subpoena is that you may be able to obtain the records more quickly than by claiming them with your spouse through a formal discovery request. But the time frame may depend on the backlog of the financial institution’s legal department when they receive the subpoena, as it could take several months.
Once you have the documents you need to determine how much your spouse spent on his partner, your next step is to analyze the documents, or preferably have your lawyer look at them. Your attorney will be better equipped to refer to documents and identify problems and suspicious transactions while reviewing documents. But it is likely that you will need the help of your lawyer because it may not be obvious by looking at, for example, the credit card bill that shows the payment to a hotel, and whether the expenses were spent on a trip your spouse took with you or your children or family members Others, or to work, or whether expenses for a trip with a partner.
Documents alone probably won’t provide a complete picture of how much your spouse spent on their partner, since it’s hard to tell if the restaurant meal was your spouse’s dinner with a friend or a date with their relationship. a partner. As a result, you may need to make representations to get a fuller picture of spending. Upon deposition, your attorney will take sworn oral testimony out of court for one of the witnesses, such as your spouse. Your lawyer will likely need to get your partner’s statement as well to ask about expenses your spouse paid on his behalf, what gifts he received from your spouse, what trips they took together, who paid them, and a host of other questions. You may also need to request documents such as notes from your partner to corroborate other evidence you have collected regarding trips they have taken together, gifts purchased, etc.
Once you have received and reviewed the documents and made the affidavits, you should be able to answer the important final question of the trial on the issue of the assets or income your spouse spent on his partner: How much was spent? During negotiations to resolve a divorce, or, if necessary, during a trial, you will be armed with the information necessary to support the total expenses and will be able to effectively argue that you should be reimbursed for the amount squandered by your spouse and their relationship partner. This means that the amount must be added back to the total assets (so that the assets are divided as if the expenses had never occurred), and then this amount must be divided equally between you and your spouse.
But shouldn’t my wife be punished for my infidelity?
Unfortunately, aside from compensating the spouse for his partner’s dissipation, the courts are unlikely to “punish” your spouse for cheating on you. Although fault-based divorce grounds (including adultery, impotence, outright desertion, cruel and abusive treatment, drunkenness, etc.) . It is much easier and more straightforward to obtain a “no-fault” divorce, in which you certify that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and there is no chance of reconciliation without having to prove fault-based cause. Even if you seek divorce on grounds of adultery, the court will not grant you any further compensation except for the expense of your partner’s squandering.
Things can be quite devastating in a marriage, and your first step is to consult an experienced divorce attorney to discuss the best way forward and what steps can be taken to ensure that you receive fair compensation for the assets or income your spouse squandered at his expense. case partner. This will involve significant discovery in order to quantify the dissipation.